We are always bringing some new computer program or file management system online at our firm. After the last several years of continuing education advisories that artificial intelligence is going to change the way we practice law, I pondered when these already online systems might become “self-aware”.
It all started with self-driving cars and smart trucks. Sure, who would not want to sit in their Tesla or Google vehicle watching a movie in the back seat while being driven around town? Or, how about the smart tractor-trailer eighteen wheel rig that avoids accidents. I have heard of and observed these in the real world for several years now. But can your professional judgment be replaced by a computer? What happens when businesses pool data concerning similar claims and risks in such a way that claims are efficiently handled, settled and closed…all without a lawyer or with minimal use of a lawyer. Blasphemy you say, maybe it is closer than we realize or want to acknowledge.
I finally came upon a blog article that actually makes good sense of the whole situation and want to recommend it for your viewing pleasure. It begins with a quote from a Chinese proverb “[w]hen the winds of change are blowing, some people are building shelters, and others are building wind mills.” Author Steven Embry, a lawyer and “technologist” states that data analytics (DA), its brother predictive modeling (PM), combined with their new and improved cousin, machine learning “artificial intelligence” are gradually developing the highly effective tools for insurance companies and even self-insureds to better mitigate and resolve repetitive claims. Improved claims management stemming from the use of these tools would decrease litigation and legal spending, better still resulting in more predictable litigation outcomes and finally reduce overall liability exposure.
He goes on to state in his blog that industries like: 1. Hospitals and doctors “medical malpractice”, 2. Businesses with a high number of occupational claims, 3. Lawyers “legal malpractice” and 4. Assisted care facilities are a few of the industries who might use these tools to reduce indemnity spend and indirectly legal spend. So essentially, the industries with the most data and similarity of claims have a better chance of utilizing the new technology to reduce their legal expenses. My conclusion, we are likely to see the insurance industry try this first. After all, these are the same people who brought us electronic billing, third party bill audits, alternative fee arrangements and staff counsel.
I get the part that I am a shelter builder and not a windmill builder but this is a profession, right? Even the local news reported last week that OKC neighborhoods are complaining about windmill noise. Isn’t there an old saying that goes something like “garbage in equals garbage out”? Are there privacy and ethical issues surrounding the use and sharing of data for DA, PM and AI to evaluate claims and settlement, sure there are. Have all of those been addressed or even thought of, probably not. So we have plenty of unanswered questions going forward but can we ignore these advancements and their effect on the legal practice and profession? Do so at your own peril. As we all know the ABA in 2012 added to the comments of Rule 1.1 that lawyers have a duty to keep abreast of the benefits and risks associated with technology. Now the Florida Supreme Court has approved a rule to go into effect in 2017 requiring members of the Florida Bar to take mandatory technology CLEs. Since this is for the October issue, consider that I am really only writing this article in honor of a good Halloween fright.
After all, consider that we have seen humans get into trouble when relying on AI before: 1. Skynet, 2. Genisys, 3. HAL 9000, 4. Auto 5. V.I.K.I, 6. WOPR, 7. Agent Smith and the Machines, 8. The Red Queen.Trick or Treat?
- Data Analytics and Predictive Modeling: Game Changer for How You Manage Claims…And View Your Lawyer; Stephen Embry, Pulse, LinkedIn, 9-23-2016
- Rule 1.1 comments, ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
- In Re: Amendments to Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.1 and 6-10.3 (Fla S. Ct. Sept. 29. 2016)
- Terminator films (1984-2009)
- Terminator Genisys (2015)
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- Wall-E (2000)
- I, Robot (2004)
- War Games (1983)
- The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003)
- Resident Evil (2002)
Byline: Michael W. Brewer is an attorney, founder, and partner of Hiltgen & Brewer, PC in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. To contact Mike, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (405) 605-9000 or tweet him at @attymikeb. For more information, please visit www.hbokc.law.